2009 Funded Research

Gender Composition of Boards: Evidence from A Natural Experiment

A research project by Iwan Barankay, Ingeborg Solli of University of Stavanger, and Mike Waterson of University of Warwick.  As from 1 January 2008, all public limited Norwegian companies have been required to have a minimum of 40% women on their company boards.  This has involved a huge increase in female board members, up from 9% in 2004 (when plans were announced) to 36% in early 2008, a net increase of 476 women, 438 of them Norwegian.  In sum, an unprecedented change in gender composition has taken place.  From an economics research viewpoint, this policy move has the form of a natural experiment, enabling some unusual insights into the working and impact of company boards. It is seldom possible to evaluate board impact because the alternative foregone is unclear, here it is clear.  From a policy perspective, if the experiment is successful, the implications for company boards worldwide are immense. The objective of this project is to measure and evaluate the implications of this major policy change.

Getting Things Done Through Hierarchical Shortcuts: A Case of the Russian Corporate Bureaucracy

Valery Yakubovich explores decision-making and career implications of employees’ “hierarchical shortcuts,” informal vertical relationships that operate within the firm’s chain of command but bypass adjacent levels of the formal hierarchy. Using unique data on careers and work relationships of employees in a large Russian energy company, he assesses the prevalence of such shortcuts and their impact on employees’ pay, promotion, and retention, in particular, at the outset of the economic crisis that started in the Fall of 2008.